by , 09/11/07

zephyr solar powered plane, zephyr solar plane, zephyr unmaned vehicle, record holder, solar power, photovoltaics, battery powered plane, QinetiQ, Zephyr plane, longest unmanned flight

While you don’t usually see military-related stories here at Inhabitat, here’s an eco-worthy exception: the Zephyr is an unmanned aerial vehicle, which is powered entirely by solar power. The emissions-free, solar-powered Zephyr recently made headlines by breaking the record for the longest-duration unmanned flight!

The Zephyr, developed by UK based QinetiQ, is a lightweight unmmaned aircraft which uses a combination of a solar array and batteries to power its flights. The plane weights a relatively low 31kg and has a wingspan of about 16 metres. The total flight lasted for a total of 54 hours, which, if you do the math, is a very impressive number for a solar powered vehicle. The Zephyr went for two straight nights without stopping or refueling relying on its solar powered batteries for flying. It made it all the way up to 18,000 meters (58,000 ft).

Unfortunately for the team, the first flight cannot be fully confirmed, as it was fairly top secret event, and thus they cannot claim the record. Before you ask though, the team did second attempt which resulted in a continuous 33 hour flight. This flight is currently being verified by the World Air Sports Federation. Meanwhile, we here at Inhabitat eagerly await for the launch of the manned Solar Plane, which we hope will someday be our mode of transportation around the world. Viva la sol!

+ Zephyr by QinetiQ

Related Posts


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Zephyr to Complete Long... July 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    […] flying the first 24-hour flight and proving that a sun-powered plane can fly at night, but the Zephyr has blown that record out of the water with its almost complete 2 week-long […]

  2. Liebchen September 11, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    NASA has a solar powered, long-duration flight prototype that, thankfully, wasn’t intended for military purposes. Helios project: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/FactSheets/FS-068-DFRC.html

    Helios has since crashed (and perhaps discontinued). We can hope that this military technology will some day live a peacefully civilian life.

  3. EcoLogica.gr » Bl... September 11, 2007 at 10:55 am

    […] : inhabitat.com Leave a […]

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home